Borne from the ashes of Wurst Edits, Roy Dank's two year-old Wurst Music Co has thus far had a simple mission: 12-inches, all of them house and disco-inclined. That's not exactly a rarity these days, of course. What sets the imprint apart is its faithful adherence to the aesthetics of these original genres. The Wurst Music Ever is the New York label's first compilation, and the greatest expression of this devotion to date.
Track one is Midnight Magic's "Push 4 Love." A snare-heavy arrangement props up wavering vocals and gorgeous flurries of horns and trumpet. Hiding in the depths of this rapturous mid-range, a plucky bass guitar keeps things moving forward. Next up, the New Jersey duo Pink Stallone take things a bit dirtier, offering up "Help Yourself," a funk-laden piece with jocular vocals. It oozes cool, using roughed-up bass and a compact guitar line to strut along. From here, things get sleeker, and a touch more modern. Fat drums characterise both Soho808's "Reach" and Portuguese artist Tiago's remix of his own track "Peanuts Not Working." The former pairs these with spacey pads and R&B-tinged vocals, while the latter has the same kind of relentless bass groove found on Donna Summer's classic "I Feel Love." Swedish trio Name In Lights also turn in an impressive piece with "Ur Oskunni," a jaunty slice of tropical persuasions. A subtle 303 underpins the cut, though it's a joyous steel drum that takes the lead.
From this pespective, however, the best moments come towards the end. As in the past, Nick Chacona's use of Italo-style arpeggiation is superb, though this time he's teamed with long time friend Anthony Mansfield for "Tase the Wizard." The aforementioned arp barely stops twanging away, often matched by a rapidly hissing hi-hat. Around these two frantic elements, everything else seems to move at half pace. Eventually, the whole thing scurries toward a towering crescendo, setting it apart from most music at this tempo. Conversely, Ulysses' "Soular Power" is the most sluggish track, weighing in with background hand-drums, a deep, squelching low-end and all manner of bright synth work.
Miracles Club's downcast "I Can't Help It" rests on Chicago-style percussion, but makes up the rest with breathy vocals, disco pads and plinking piano. Again making good use of ivory, Great Weekend's "That's the Thing" is this time all about joy. A patchwork of exultant and well-stitched vocals carry us most of the way through, with a distinct hip-hop vibe. Last, Engish artist Chicago Damn shows off the super-smooth "Romcom." Sultry flute lines breeze through the track alongside big, crunchy percs. There's also some well-placed blasts of rave whistle, and later, dubbed-out, wavering chords. Like many of the pieces here, it might really be two decades old, were it not for the slick sound design. That's what makes it—and the whole compilation—so great. Even at their most contemporary, all the tracks seem to respect where they've come from. Old-sounding doesn't automatically equate to "good," but The Wurst Music Ever sure makes a convincing argument.
Tracklist 01. Native Underground - Push 4 Love (Midnight Magic Cover)
02. Pink Stallone - Help Yourself
03. soho808 - Reach feat. Safiyah
04. Name In Lights - Ur Oskunni
05. Tiago - Peanuts Not Working (I Am The Automan Version)
06. The Miracles Club - I Can't Help It
07. Nick Chacona & Anthony Mansfield - Tase The Wizard
08. Great Weekend - That's The Thing (To Do)
09. Chicago Damn - Romcom
10. Ulysses - Soular Power